Fauci says it's too soon to say whether Christmas gatherings will be safe

Chief White House medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony FauciMore than 40 Texas hospitals face ICU bed shortages FDA mulling to allow 'mix and match' COVID-19 vaccine booster shots: report The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Remembrances flow in after Powell's death MORE said on Sunday that it was "too soon to tell" whether people should avoid gathering for Christmas this year in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Fauci told CBS "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan that it was "just too soon to tell" if Americans would need to limit the size and scope of their holiday celebrations as was recommended last year.

"We've just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we're going to do at a particular time," Fauci said.

"Let's focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down. And we can do it by people getting vaccinated and also in the situation where boosters are appropriate to get people boosted," he added.

Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged Americans not to travel for Christmas as cases were reaching then-record highs.

“The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” Henry Walke, then the CDC's COVID-19 incident manager at the time, said. “Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase.”

Michael Osterholm, a member of President BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE's COVID-19 Advisory Board during his transition into office, said outright in December that "there is not a safe Christmas party in this country right now unless everybody for the previous 10-14 days were podded.”

At the time, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had become the first vaccine to be granted emergency use approval and administration was limited to high-risk individuals. As of Sunday, around 65 percent of the eligible U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, though the seven-day moving average for new cases is actually higher than it was at this time last year.

At the start of October 2020, the seven-day moving average was around 43,000 according to CDC. Currently, the seven-day moving average is around 103,000. The average has been on a decline since peaking towards the end of August.